Sod turned for construction of Linden passport office

– $30M project to wrap up in 4 months

Within months, residents of Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) are expected to enjoy the comfort of having a passport office which will cater for new applications within their community, easing the burden of having to travel to Georgetown to access the service.
On Saturday, Citizenship Minister Winston Felix was part of the sod turning exercise at the site for the construction of a new passport office in the vicinity of the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) building at Mackenzie. The construction of the building, which will be 2000 square feet, will be executed by R Bassoon and Sons Contracting Company to the tune of $30,604,472.00.
Work is expected to commence next Thursday and construction is expected to wrap up within four months. Lindeners have been accessing passport renewal services, conducted out of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) building at Mackenzie since August last year.  However, applications for new passports have to be done in the city.
Speaking at the exercise on Saturday, Minister Winston Felix said the move is part of Government’s plan to decentralise such services.
He said New Amsterdam, in Berbice has already benefited from a similar initiative. The Minister said the process now takes five working days and there are over 100 applications received from New York weekly, suggesting that there is an increase in applications.
He said furniture has already been acquired for the building and the relevant equipment will follow, but noted that his only contention is security for the office.
“Once these two programmes (Linden and New Amsterdam) get off the ground, I’m going to Regions Two, Region Seven and Region Eight… We’re implementing this project as a Government serving the people…”, he said. He further noted his hope that the “sins” of the past at the Georgetown office do not show up at these offices, noting that a high-level efficiency and courtesy is required. In this vein, he said the public must be given priority at all times and good public service is also required. Meanwhile, Regional Chairman Renis Morian in his remarks noted that the move was a coordinated one towards development, as he reminisced on difficulties faced by people in the region in relation to accessing the services.
Outgoing Linden Mayor Carwyn Holland also noted how pleased he was as he explained that he had been a part of lobbying for the project to come on stream in the community.